Community hubs are increasingly important for Japan as its population declines

Fuji, Japan – Around an hour’s drive north to the base of Mount Fuji, the Japanese namesake city is inhabited by over 240,000 people, surrounded to the south by Suruga Bay. Recently, Fuji’s local government initiated a project called ‘Compact City,’ directed toward creating a community centre out of its train station. It worked with Tokyo-based studio CMYK Interiors & Products to revive Shin-Fuji Station and make it a desirable gathering space for visitors and locals.

Currently at the highest rate on record since 1899, Japan’s severe population decline was motivation for completing such a project now.  Fuji officials briefed a space that would represent and promote the city, to stimulate traffic and foster interaction. Their initiative, though, speaks of a global pattern – as of late, we’ve seen libraries, schools and religious spaces, among other typologies, framed first and foremost as community hubs. All public spaces today need to fulfil that ever-important role as cities bear the brunt of crises such as loneliness, gentrification and, in this case, a shrinking demographic.

To make Fuji’s end-goals feasible, CMYK’s primary focuses were on functionality and circulation. A train station, luckily, is organically frequented – but to make it even more so, shops were consolidated into the bigger station area. In the lobby, the team designed a staircase seating area and benches where travellers can comfortably wait for their departure. And if a question happens to pop up? They can visit the information booth, where differing counter heights accommodate all users.  

Built by local workers, the public space as a whole is materially dominated by wood, all of which comes from the region. Fuji’s locality is well-etched into the design of the station – it relays a hopeful urban narrative, one that takes pride in the community it represents, and pushes it toward the future.

Shin-Fuji Station was submitted to the spatial design competition of the year – Frame Awards 2020. Like the project? Keep your eye out on its progress. Think you can compete? Submit your best work here.

Location Kawanarijima, Fuji, Shizuoka 416-0939

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